Northern Thailand Elephant Sanctuary

Volunteer with Elephants in Northern Thailand at a truly unique Elephant Sanctuary

Volunteer with Elephants in Northen Thailand at a truly unique Elephant Charity. Live at the Elephant Sanctuary surrounded by free roaming Elephants. Spend some unforgettable time with the amazing elephant carers and immerse yourself in elephant life.

• Ethical Elephant Sanctuary and responsible volunteer tasks

• Chain free elephants wandering forest and lake areas

• Easy to get to location in a cooler climate area of Thailand

Project Overview

Visit the land of smiles and help the wonderful elephants of Thailand!

Volunteers live in the middle of the sanctuary surrounded by the elephants wandering chain free in the forest and lake areas. It is almost like you are there for the elephants to observe!

This project provides a unique elephant experience in a modern sanctuary. Help former working elephants live a natural life in beautiful surroundings.

The elephants are given freedom to roam and enjoy a natural environment at this amazing sanctuary.

Volunteer with Elephants in Northern Thailand and help these magnificent animals for a memorable experience!

Project Overview

The Project: Opened in 2016, the Northern Thailand Elephant Sanctuary is dedicated to providing a safe, natural habitat to elephants. The elephants are being rehabilitated from years of exploitation in logging, elephant camps, elephant rides and shows.

Project Location: The project is located just outside Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand. Chiang Rai has its own international airport.

Main Volunteer Activities: Volunteers work alongside professional mahouts preparing food, feeding the elephants and harvesting crops for feed.  You will also learn about the elephants, and assist with keeping the sanctuary in the best condition for the elephants.

Hours: Volunteers work from Mon to Fri.  Weekends are free for relaxing, sightseeing or travelling around this beautiful part of Thailand.

Duration: Volunteer placements are year-round and for 1 to 4 weeks, Sunday arrivals.

Accommodation: Spacious on-site shared rooms with views of the elephants and the beautiful project grounds.

Volunteer Requirements: Volunteers at this project must be aged 18+

Project History

This wonderful and unique project was founded in 2016. Set up to provide a safe, natural habitat to elephants who are being rehabilitated from years of exploitation in logging, elephant rides and shows. These elephants are being given a second chance at a normal life. The project also serves as a place of education for care and treatment of elephants for the public and for other local elephant owners.

How the project is helping

The project provides a safe and natural environment for rescued elephants; they can recover from their former traumatic lives and enjoy just being elephants in peaceful surroundings. The project aims to provide these gentle giants with a life as close to living in the wild as possible; but with the added benefit that trained mahouts and other staff are always on hand to give a bit of extra help if required. Sadly, these elephants can no longer live in the world after years of living in captivity and being mistreated by humans. But at least here they can enjoy life almost as nature intended.

Why the project need volunteers

Looking after the elephants, growing and harvesting their food and maintaining the elephant park is a full time job. The sanctuary has one mahout per elephant; but the more volunteers who join the project, the better care we can give to the elephants. It also allow the project to keep the elephant sanctuary closer their natural habitat.

The project receives no state funding. But through volunteer support, private donations and grants the project will be able to  continue caring for the elephants; and undertaking the important task of educating people on elephant conservation and animal welfare & care.

Volunteer with Elephants in Northern Thailand at this amazing Elephant Charity and know you are making a real difference!

Typical Volunteer Duties

Volunteers work under the guidance of local staff and professional mahouts in caring for the elephant's daily needs. Volunteers also help with ensuring that the elephant sanctuary is well maintained. Volunteers work a 5-day week, with approximately half your working with the mahouts and project staff; planting and harvesting food for the elephants, feeding the elephants, and cleaning and preparing their sleeping areas. You also help with the general upkeep of the elephant sanctuary making sure the elephants can be as happy and comfortable as possible. Your remaining time is spent observing and learning about our resident 'family' of elephants in their natural habitat with a guide.


There is a range of tasks to be carried out when volunteering with elephants. You will work with our local staff on some or all of the following:

  • Learning about the elephants and this unique animal sanctuary and observing them in their natural habitat.
  • Cutting different types of elephant grass, fruit and banana trees and transporting it to the night areas to keep their big appetites in check!
  • Feeding the elephants
  • Planting elephant grass, banana trees, sugar cane, pineapple or corn for fodder.
  • Participating in elephant feeding habit research, weekly vet (care) checks and learning about the biology of the elephant.
  • Helping to improve the elephant sanctuary by doing light construction work, planting seedlings and maintaining pathways.

NB Activities can be seasonal and dependent on factors such as the needs of the elephants and weather conditions.

These are only examples of what your daily activities may be. The elephant sanctuary is continually evolving and the needs of the elephants may change before or during your stay. Rest assured we are very flexible with volunteers’ personal needs; but we do request the same flexibility in return as the elephants are the top priority.

Please be aware that harvesting pineapple plants, banana trees and corn for fodder is essential and regular work for volunteers. This involves chopping and dragging plants and trees over rough ground. Some heavy lifting is involved, which can be quite tiring work in the heat. It is essential that you wear appropriate clothing (sun hat, gloves, long sleeves and trousers) and sturdy footwear for this task, pace yourself, and drink plenty of water.


This project offers purpose built on site accommodation in shared rooms for two to four people. Rooms have a lovely view over the project. You can literally go to sleep to the sound of elephants and wake up to see them strolling around the grounds; munching on some tasty bamboo or taking a refreshing shower.

If you would rather have a room to yourself we can arrange this at an additional cost, provided there is availability. Email us for rates.

Much of the furniture is locally made using recycled wood and the rooms are spacious, clean and have lots of windows to take in the wonderful views of the project.

Currently there are four volunteer rooms and three bathrooms shared between the rooms so you should never feel crowded!

At the elephant sanctuary you will find lovely areas for chilling out. As well as communal areas for eating breakfast lunch and dinner. Your placement fee covers all meals on site which are provided each day by local cooks. Vegetarians, vegans and those with food allergies can be accommodated.
Free Time in Chiang Rai and Thailand

Days off can be spent at any of the numerous attractions around Chiang Rai. From the famous and modern White Temple, to the historic Wat Chedi Luang to the local night markets, to trekking; there is a diverse array to activity to enjoy in and around Chiang Rai Province. The Golden Triangle, the meeting point of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, is only 30 minutes from Chiang Rai.

Though in a mountainous region, the city of Chiang Rai is fairly flat; it is a great place to cycle around on your time off. Each weeknight you can enjoy the Night Bazaar and food court for a local experience. On Saturdays and Sundays, be sure to visit the Walking Markets; where you can find incredible handiwork from surrounding indigenous tribes and sample a variety of amazing foods.

If you do want to travel around Thailand or further afield in Southeast Asia, our team are all very well travelled and can offer advice. They can also help in planning the perfect itinerary for travel before or after your placement. Below are just a few ideas to whet your appetite.


Bangkok is noisy, crowded, hot, buzzing, hot, friendly and did we mention it is hot? Love it or hate it Bangkok is a city that has to be seen at least once. Despite all the craziness, Bangkok has great shopping, royal palaces, museums, peaceful temples, top class restaurants, world famous street food and a public transport system that puts many western cities to shame! Take a high tail boat for a private river tour. Or join the crowds on one of Bangkok's water taxis and see the city from its pulsating river and canals. And to top it all there are flights into and out of Bangkok's two international airports to connect you with almost anywhere in the world. Too tempting to miss!

Further afield in Thailand

Thailand has something to offer everyone. For history buffs, within easy reach of Bangkok is Kanchanaburi; home of the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai and the very moving Commonwealth War Graves. Ancient Thai Capital city Attuthaya is even closer to Bangkok and is a feast for temple lovers. And of course there are dozens of islands to choose from ; from party islands like Ko Phangan to unspoiled idylls such as Ko Yao Noi.

Beyond Thailand

Thanks to Bangkok's status as an airline hub for Southeast Asia, the world is your oyster; at least most of Asia anyway. All of Thailand's closest neighbours are a short flight away. Undiscovered Burma, Laid back and underrated Laos, and friendly Cambodia; with its Angkorian temples, tragic history, lush jungles and a handful of idyllic islands. Regular buses and boats are also popular for many journeys across Thailand's borders.

What’s Included:

Included in your volunteering trip is accommodation at the sanctuary; where you can wake up every morning with a view of the elephants roaming in beautiful natural surroundings. Volunteers will receive all meals on site with vegans being catered for at this project.

You will receive a free pickup from the local airport to the Elephant Sanctuary. As well as all the necessary project equipment, training, induction and in-country support from experienced English speaking project staff.

Do you want a Private Room?

Couples travelling together will be provided a private room together. If you are volunteering alone, then you can still have a private room for an additional charge, email us for rates.

Value additions:

        √  Free airport pick up from Chiang Rai international airport.
        √  Accommodation in spacious shared rooms on the project site.
        √  Three meals a day on site - vegetarians and vegans catered for!
        √  Thailand orientation guide and induction on arrival.
        √  In-country support from the local volunteer co-ordinator.
        √  All necessary project equipment and materials.
        √  All necessary project training and supervision by experienced staff.
        √  Comprehensive pre-travel information pack and travel advice.
        √  Return transport to the airport at the end of your placement.
        √  Project donation to support the work of caring for the elephants.

Financial Transparency

As a UK registered Charity, Globalteer is required to be financially transparent to our donors. You can therefore see a full breakdown of where your money goes and our independently audited accounts by clicking below:

Where Your Money Goes

To discover why you should consider choosing Globalteer, please visit the following page:

About Globalteer

Why do we charge a fee for volunteering?

Globalteer requests a donation from volunteers to allow us to achieve our charitable objectives and support our partner programmes. In return, Globalteer provides volunteers with an amazing, responsible and ethical volunteer experience. Ensuring that your placement is responsible as well as rewarding, safe and enjoyable takes a good deal of work.

A summary of Globalteer’s total expenditure for the last financial year is shown below:

Donations and Grants 60% – This includes a share of volunteer placement fees, grants we have secured for our projects and donations managed by Globalteer that are made by individuals and groups to our projects and partner projects.

Support Costs 29% – This includes volunteer accommodation, volunteer transport, support staff costs, travel costs and some volunteer meals.

Operational Costs 11% – Costs of running Globalteer.

What’s not included
  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
What do everyday items cost?

The official currency of Thailand is the Baht, and there are approximately 45 Baht to the pound and 30 Baht to the US dollar. The cost of living in Thailand is low compared to most countries in the developed world. The costs of some typical items are:

  • Short ride in a tuk-tuk - 50 Baht
  • Taxi ride of about 15 minutes - 150 to 250 Baht
  • Meal at a market - around 50 Baht
  • Meal in a restaurant - 200 Baht +
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